Title: Gods & Monsters
Author: Saffron A. Kent
Genre: Contemporary/New Adult Romance
Cover Design: Najla Qamber
Photo: Wander Aguiar
Release Date: February 22, 2018
4.5 Legendary CROWNS
This isn’t going to be my typical review, because Gods & Monsters is not your typical romance. It is, honestly, nothing that I expected it to be. Although this is my first Saffron A. Kent book, I have read the reviews and one-clicked her books, so I had expectations. I expected hot sex. I got it. I expected taboo and forbidden relationships. Check that off the list. I expected events that would push me past my comfort zone. Absolutely happened. What I didn’t expect is a story that had me examining anger, faith, lust, revenge and forgiveness. I didn’t anticipate reading a story that examines how we are changed and altered by others, by pasts (our own and other’s), and our own demons. I didn’t think I would be getting more than a romance, but I most certainly did.
Abel and Evie, from the moment they meet, have an all consuming relationship. They are infatuated with each other. They crave their connection, their interaction, and their stolen moments. Now, there seems to be little “getting to know you” happening, but they are teens and teens get swept up in romance, especially when everyone is telling them it is a bad idea. Trust me, I teach high school students, and it is real. Girls want to be the one the save them, to love them, and to be worthy of his love and change. While Evie doesn’t crave his love as a form of validation, she refuses to let others tell her she can’t have him, and so they are reckless and make rash decisions in the name of love.
Their story becomes more interesting in the aftermath, when they begin to let others impact them and when the rage and anger become too much. Their wrath consumes them and burns them up from the inside. It alters them individually, and it begins to change their relationship, turning both into unrecognizable versions of themselves, monsters. Their journey back is hard to read and hard to watch. The despair they endure after the struggle to be together in the first place is hard, but both of them are introspective. Evie recognizes their errors and how they have fallen from grace, and Abel eventually, after some tough love and reflection sees it as well. Both of these characters work to change and grow and move past what is weighing them down and soiling their once pure and innocent love, and I love where she leaves them in the end.
Now, Gods & Monsters is labeled as taboo. There are parts that are uncomfortable. Abel at times is too dominating and possessive (but romance readers find it hot on grown men with grown women, so maybe it is their age that makes people uncomfortable), but it never made me dislike him. His actions are a result of his past and not being able to let go of the damage. It changes him and alters him, and when he recognizes it, he is disgusted with himself. Evie allows herself to be consumed by their love and gets sucked into his anger. They engage in some questionable behavior, but the explanation from secondary characters makes the act enticing, and while I don’t agree, they are young and seeking a way to rebel. Their relationship becomes toxic, but it didn’t start there. It became warped as result of others and their reaction to others, so it is plausible for them to make their way back to who they were as a couple.
This taboo topics she addresses in the novel is ultimately what draws me to reading and literature, and I love when an author combines romance with these thought provoking stories. When they give readers the hard topics, the questionable choices, and the flawed characters, because these are real stories. They show the essence of life, that it can be dirty and damaging, and yet there is forgiveness and redemption as well. What I love most, though, is the idea that we give ourselves forgiveness. It doesn’t come from others or from God. We allow ourselves to bask in the darkness or thrive in the light, in essence we are our owns gods. We can choose to be legendary or to be monsters.
Gods & Monsters surprised me. Saffron A. Kent made me think. Not everyone will love it, but I would like to think that most can respect her words for what they do, getting readers to examine life and draw their own conclusions about the topics and themes introduced in the novel, because that is the purpose of books, that is why we read, to learn and grown as humans.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.
He was an artist. She was his muse.
To everyone in town, Abel Adams was the devil’s spawn, a boy who never should have been born. A monster.
To twelve year-old Evie Hart, he was just a boy with golden hair, soft t-shirts and a camera. A boy who loved taking her picture and sneaking her chocolates before dinner. A boy who made her feel special.
Despite her family’s warnings, she loved him in secret for six years. They met in empty classrooms and kissed in darkened church closets. Until they couldn’t.
Until the time came to choose between love and family, and Evie chose Abel.
Because their love was worth the risk. Their love was the stuff of legend.
But the thing about legends is that they are cautionary tales. They are made of choices and mistakes. And for Abel and Evie, the artist and the muse, those mistakes come in the form of lights, camera, sex.
NOTE: This is NOT a paranormal or a priest romance.
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Abel drops his head on my shoulder with a sigh and places soft but wet kisses on my collarbone.
“The minute you turn eighteen, I’m picking you up, throwing you over my shoulder and driving you down to the nearest courthouse so you can say I do,” he rumbles, still kissing me, tattooing those words on my skin.
My hands bury themselves in his hair as my back arches toward him, craving the rough terrain of his chest against my soft, rounded breasts, shooting sparks all over.
“You haven’t even asked me n-nicely, yet,” I whimper, baring my throat to his exploring mouth. He hasn’t. It’s been over a year since he brought it up at the treehouse and I told him no. Since then, he likes to joke about it but he’s yet to ask me formally.
“I don’t have to. I already know the answer.”
“A little too cocky, aren’t you?”
“Oh yeah, that’s definitely what I am.” He chuckles, sucking in the skin of my neck, making me shiver and blush. Oops. Double entendre.
The way he’s tugging on my skin is translating into a melty tugging down below. “Abel, no. That’s gonna leave a mark.”
He growls and looks up. The brown of his eyes is completely gone, a drop of honey drowned by a black lake of desire. “One day I’m gonna kiss you in the front of the whole world and if they don’t like it then fuck them.”
I read the frustration in his tone, the suppressed anger, and it hurts my heart. No one should be made to hide their love. No one. It’s too pure, too beautiful to ever keep hidden. I caress his pulsing jaw. “Okay. Kiss me at our wedding, then. In front of the whole world.”
A slow smile spreads over his lips and I want to fill my mouth with it. “So, you saying yes?”
I shake my head at him and give him a smirk. “Maybe.”
He plants a hard kiss on my mouth. “Kidnapping you it is, then.”
“Oh my God, you’re crazy.” I laugh.
But he swallows it up with his mouth. He’s kissing me, really kissing me. Like, he’s lost all patience with me and he can’t be a good guy anymore. He needs to be bad. He needs to suck both my lips into his mouth and drink my flavor straight from the tap. He needs to bite into my flesh to get to it, dig his way inside the pores and fuse us together.
Writer of bad romances. Aspiring Lana Del Rey of the Book World.
Saffron is a big believer in love (obviously). She believes in happily ever after, the butterflies and the tingling. But she also believes in edgy, rough and gutsy kind of love. She believes in pushing the boundaries, darker (sometimes morally ambiguous) emotions and imperfections.
The kind of love she writes about is flawed just like her characters. And she hopes by the end of it, you’ll come to root for them just as much as she does. Because love, no matter where it comes from, is always pure and beautiful.
She is represented by Meire Dias of Bookcase Agency
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